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Diezig and Calder win shortened Kangaroo Hoppet

Tue, Sep  1, 2009 - By Allan Marsland

The nineteenth annual Kangaroo Hoppet, Australia's international ski marathon, was held today at Falls Creek in north-east Victoria. Rain and wind caused the races to be shortened and the main event was held over 25km instead of the usual 42km. Twenty-four year old Australian Ben Sim from Cooma won the men's 25km event, breaking away from Thomas Diezig of Switzerland in the last 3km and winning by 40 seconds. The winning margin in the women's 25km was almost the same, with Katherine Calder of New Zealand taking first place 38 seconds ahead of local Mt Beauty skier Esther Bottomley. Over 1200 competitors from 22 nationalities entered in the three race distances of 25km, 15km, and 5km, although it is likely that the weather deterred a number of skiers from starting.

The Hoppet is the opening race of the 2008/2009 Worldloppet series of cross country skiing marathons, which are held in 15 nations around the world. The event was supported by AGL Hydro, Australia's largest private producer of renewable energy, Tourism Victoria and the Keep Winter Cool campaign, the Falls Creek Alpine Resort, and Australian sport clothing brand 2XU.


Kangaroo Hoppet Men's Podium
Thomas Diezig (SUI), Ben Sim (AUS), Anthony Evans (AUS)
Photo by Chris Hocking

The track was fast and firm at the start but softened quickly for competitors up the back of the field. A pack of six to seven skiers broke clear after 10km then Sim and Diezig went off the front just before the end of the first 15km lap. Sim attacked continuously on the second 10km loop then finally at the Sun Valley turnaround Diezig was unable to follow. It was a close race for the remaining podium place, with three-time Australian Winter Olympian Anthony Evans from Jindabyne taking third 12 seconds ahead of Swiss sprinter Valerio Leccardi and 20 seconds ahead of NSW junior Alex Almoukov. In the women's race Calder went clear soon after the start, with 2006 Winter Olympians Bottomley and Clare-Louise Brumley from Mt Beauty skiing the first 7km together. Bottomley left Brumley behind and closed on Calder towards the end but could not stop Calder from scoring her second Hoppet win. Fourth place went to Lescinska Fackerell of Falls Creek and fifth place to former Dutch Winter Olympic speed-skater Carla Zijlstra-Evans.

It was Sim's fourth Hoppet win, equalling Ben Derrick's record number of victories. Sim is the current Australian 10km and 30km champion and one of Australia's leading cross country contenders for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Calder won her first Hoppet in 2007 but this was her first competing for New Zealand. Originally from Canberra, Calder switched to the nation of her father in 2008 and is also on track to compete in Vancouver.


Kangaroo Hoppet Women's Podium
Esther Bottomley (AUS), Katherine Calder (NZE), Clare-Louise Brumley (AUS)
Photo by Chris Hocking

Australian Team member Nick Grimmer from Falls Creek and NSW junior Lucy Glanville from Sydney won the 15km Australian Birkebeiner event, while Alasdair Tutt from Wangaratta and Anna Trnka from Mt Beauty were first in the 5km Joey Hoppet.

The Kangaroo Hoppet is also the final race in the 2009 FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC), one of eight Continental Cup series around the world endorsed by the International Ski Federation. Diezig from Switzerland and Calder from New Zealand secured the series win with their results today. Sim's only chance to win the ANC was if Diezig finished outside of the podium. The winners of the Continental Cup series receive a special start position in the 2009/2010 World Cup series.

2009 Kangaroo Hoppet 25km

 

Top 10 Men

 

Top 10 Women

1, Ben Sim, NSW
2, Thomas Diezig, SWITZERLAND
3, Anthony Evans, NSW
4, Valerio Leccardi, SWITZERLAND
5, Alex Almoukov, NSW
6, Paul Murray, VIC
7, Callum Watson, NSW
8, Daniel Wieland, USA
9, Gaudenz Flury, SWITZERLAND
10, Andrew Mock, VIC

1, Katherine Calder, NEW ZEALAND
2, Esther Bottomley, VIC
3, Clare-Louise Brumley, VIC
4, Lescinska Fackerell, VIC
5, Carla Zijlstra-Evans, NETHERLANDS
6, Belinda Phillips, VIC
7, Johanna Edin, SWEDEN
8, Chloe McConville, VIC
9, Robyn Rodd, NSW
10, Mary Feeny-Hall, USA/VIC


2009 Australian Birkebeiner 15km
 

 

Top 3 Men

 

Top 3 Women

1, Nick Grimmer, VIC
2, Ewan Watson, NSW
3, Finn Marsland, VIC

1, Lucy Glanville, NSW
2,Juliette Booth, VIC
3, Georgia Merritt, VIC


2009 Joey Hoppet 5km

 

Top 3 Men

 

Top 3 Women

1, Alastair Tutt, VIC
2, Nicholas Montgomery, VIC
3, Giles Richardson, VIC

1, Anna Trnka, VIC
2, Siobhan Jones, NSW
3, Gabriella Cigana, NSW